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Here we have a comparison of the Single Line Composer on the left and the Paragraph Composer on the right. These are features that we don't really interact with too much. We have them set up in the Justification settings, and then we leave them like that. They determine how the paragraph is composed, i.e., how InDesign figures out where to put the spacing so that it makes the spacing look as even as possible. And with the Single Line Composer, which is the old way of doing things, what happens is the Single Line Composer will-- as its name suggests--look on each line and figure out how it can best distribute the spacing on that line.
The Paragraph Composer, on the other hand, looks within the whole paragraph, so it both looks above the line that you're working on and below the line that you're working on. And theoretically, because it has a wider range over which to distribute the spacing, the result should be a better spaced text. I have to say that when you compare the results, often you don't see hardly any difference and sometimes the Single Line Composer does look better, but in theory and most of the time the Paragraph Composer gives you the better result.
So let me just point out where the option is--let me also say that we have World-Ready Single-line and the World-Ready Paragraph Composer. These you'd use, if you're working with non-Latin alphabets, but I'm going to working with just a Paragraph Composer and the Single Line Composer. So that's where you can choose it, but it's also incorporated into the Justification settings, right there which of course are also incorporated into the Paragraph Styles, Justification, and it can be set right there.
So let's look at the difference between these two. These two bodies of text are identical but for of the Composer that is applied to them, and we see that on the left- hand side there is one more hyphen, so it's causing one more hyphenation break to occur by using the Single Line Composer. To cut a long story short, set it at the Paragraph Composer, and then you don't have to worry about it again. There's one caveat to that, and that is that if you're doing a lot of editorial work, you might be disconcerted by the way your text behaves when you're working with the Paragraph Composer. I'm not sure that I can really demonstrate it here, but I'll try. I'm going to insert my cursor into this body of text and watch what happens as I type my text.
What's happening is the text above the cursor as well as below the cursor is changing. Now that might be disconcerting because if you're working in a situation where you have proofreaders look at line endings, maybe you're dealing with some sort of legal publishing, and the proofreaders signed off on those line endings as being correct, and you're working with the Paragraph Composer and text gets edited, the line endings are liable to change above the cursor as well as below the cursor.
Admittedly, that hasn't happened in my example here, but let's say if I can make it happen, yeah, we see the word destruction is now hyphenated, whereas before it was not. Whereas with the Single Line Composer everything is going to remain in place of above the point of your cursor, it's only below that the changes will occur. So I'll let you be the judge of which of those is going to work best for you, but the prevailing wisdom is that Paragraph Composer is going to give you better spaced text.
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